31 January, 2007


Well mes saucisses, winter has finally blown in and it is time to raid the pantry and whip up some hearty food. I have been intrigued by cassoulet ever since a hazy day (of the mind not the weather) in Carcassonne, when a traveling companion was set on finding some cassoulet authentique in the famous walled city. While we did find a nice lunch under the shade of some mulberry trees, the authenticness of the medieval town was of a more Disneyesque hue. They had steam tables full of cassoulet, they also had plates of oven roasted pork chops or chicken with haricots-verts . Wine and shade was all that I desired while others picked through the Ye Olde Gift Shoppe for plastic coats of armor.

But from that day until now the idea cassoulet has stuck with me, French comfort food. I would listen to my friend Brian talk about it and it became a mystic stew of various ends and joints. Soissons or Arpajon, saucisses de Toulouse ou de campagne, confit of goose, bacon, salted pork, mutton, who would get these exotic ingredients for a pot of beans? Why the French of course. But wait: For the French (I know I am over simplifying and romanticizing country life) it's actually no trouble at all, these ingredients are all (as they have been for centuries) in the larder.

Emboldened by this realization I raided the larder, also known here in the Chicago Southland as the Beer Fridge, in an attempt to capture the essence of cassoulet, and I would do it without driving to Whole Foods for goose fat. As regular readers will attest, even though I profess the desire to live simply, I always find a lot of little things to do to keep it simple, this simple pot of beans is no exception.
Cassoulet d’Owl Head

The Beans.

203g - 7-1/8 oz bacon cut into 1 inch by ½ inch cubes
454g - 16oz dry great northern beans sorted and washed.
1 medium onion peeled studded with 4 cloves
1 carrot chopped
Bouquet garni (handful of thyme, a couple of bay leaves)

A handful of thyme from under the snow

In the stock pot I melted the bacon a bit then added all other ingredients along with six cups of water. Brought the beans to simmer then slow cooked until beans were tender, 4-6 hours. Add salt to taste.

Saucisses de Campange

2 lbs Pork shoulder
20 g salt
5 g quatre-epices (See Notes)
½ c (126g) red wine

I diced meat, tossed it with the spices and , then rested the mixture in the fridge for at an hour. I ground through large plate into mixer bowl. I added the wine and mixed with paddle attachment for about a minute.

I stuffed the mixture into hog casings, and realizing at this point I wasn't going to finish until the next day, I hung them in the fridge to dry a little bit. I made eight 6-8 inch sausages.

The next day I started the again:

The Ragout

2 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
1 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes

10g quatre-epices
6 cloves garlic smashed, peeled and chopped

Bouquet garni (handful of thyme, a couple of bay leaves)

In a large saute pan, I browned the pork in a bit of lard, then I threw in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a couple of hours so that the sauce had cooked down a bit and the pork was fork tender. Add salt to taste.

Final assembly

2 c toasted bread crumbs
dollops of lard or butter

I got the pot of beans from the day before and saved the beans and the bacon for the dutch oven. I got out the dutch oven, still warm from baking the No Knead bread, and quickly browned the skins of four sausages in a thin film of oil over medium high heat. Then I assemble the cassoulet: A few ladles of the ragout and then a layer of beans and bacon. Next I placed the four browned sausages in the pot. In go the rest of the beans, the rest of the ragout, leveled it out, then put on the bread crumbs. I had planned on using lard to dot the crust, but the lard I made in December had started to turn, so few tablespoons of butter here and there was a suitable replacement. I put the pot, covered, into a 325F oven for about two hours. Since most everything was cooked already, it probably didn't need cook it that long. I looked for doneness in the sausage (internal temp 150F) and everything looked warmed through and bubbly.

Now a few notes about the ingredients: I had three pounds and fourteen ounces of pork belly left over from making bacon, hence the call for two pounds for the sausage and two pounds in the ragout. When I do it again, I would use two and a half to three pounds of meat for the ragout, and if I am at the store, I would look at using lamb shoulder. A bouquet garni, will usually have a minimum of parsley in addition to the sprigs of thyme and bay leaf, but I didn't have any. For the quatre-epices, I mixed 15 g white pepper ground, 2g clove ground, 2g dried ginger ground and 2g nutmeg grated. I hope to have more about the spice mix soon.

Cassoulet d'Owl Head avec pain de No-Knead

There you have it, pork and beans French cousin, Cassoulet, warming and immensely satisfying on a cold winter day. So now your appetite is piqued but you are thinking "Gee who has all the time do do this?" I sympathize, I have an espresso machine that is constantly running. But for those who would like to try something quick, click over to Andouille and White Bean Soup by Restaurant Widow, it looks good and simple.


30 January, 2007

No Knead Bread

Ever since The "No Knead Bread" article was in the New York Times late last year, the foodie-net has been abuzz with this miracle breakthrough of bread baking. I admit I have been smitten by it too. After coming across discussions of it a few times this week, I figured I'm already making it why not take a couple snappies and make a post of it. Well here's mine, ready to go in the oven. I used 10 percent rye flour and dusted it with graham flour. And that fancy pants proofing basket (Banneton)? A flour sack towel in a wicker basket from Pier One.

If you want the recipe just type in 'No Knead Bread' to your favorite search engine and hold on. If not email me I'll sent it to ya. I bet this bread will go great with Cassoulet, stay tuned.


28 January, 2007

"Nothing Burps Better than Bacon"

No truer words have ever been uttered. Just in case you were worried that a blog about sausage, smoking and curing, was losing its way with the interviews of celebrity chefs and musings upon fruits, we have been busy here in the kitchen making what we like to make best: Bacon.

The hardest part of making bacon is finding the pork belly; the rest is easy. Typically after curing the belly (I cured mine in a dry rub for six days) I smoke it. But this week with everyone feeling a little under the weather and it has turned cold here in the Southland, I decided to roast it in the oven. While there is nothing better than smoked bacon, roasted bacon is a very nice alternative. Someday soon I will write up a full primer on making bacon at home because there should be no mystery to making good food, and there is no reason to pay seven dollars for a pound of bacon.


Vin de Citron Meyer

Vin de citron meyer et moro

A quick scan of a few blogs this week reminded me that it is Meyer lemon season. Yesterday we made the trek up to Whole Foods to pick a few up at $3.99/lb. Our preparation here is a fortified wine which I detailed last year in the posts Vin d'Orange and Vin de pamplemousse. The first time I made this stuff I figured I would made one batch and that would last the summer. However, ended up making at least five batches last year and this is our second batch for this year. It is really easy to do, and not too expensive (we used Sauvingion Blanc from Trader Joe's), so get started and impress your friends with your own cool summertime drink.


24 January, 2007

Super Bowl Chili Recipe

Novak’s Cream of the Crop Green Chili

Winner, Best Overall Recipe and Winner, People’s Choice.
Huffman’s Market Annual Chili Cook-off, October 8, 2006.

Serves 10-12

3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder or pork shoulder steaks, cut into ½” cubes
1 large white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 poblano chile peppers
1 28oz can of tomatillos OR 1-1/2 lbs fresh tomatillos husked and rinsed
4 cans (4-6 oz.) chopped green chiles
1 28 oz can of chicken broth
1 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream)
1 bunch (about a cup) fresh cilantro, chopped (stems removed)
3 TB Chili powder
1 TB Dried Mexican oregano
1 TB ground cumin
4 TB vegetable or canola oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Season pork shoulder cubes with salt and pepper liberally and brown well in vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Remove pork from pan and sauté onion in same pan until golden. Add garlic, dried herbs and spices, and sauté for two minutes. Add pork and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.

Remove seeds and stem from poblanos and cut in half. Place under broiler until skins are charred. Place poblanos in a paper bag with damp paper towel to steam for 20-30 minutes. Remove charred skins. Puree poblanos and tomatillos in a food processor. Add puree and chopped green chiles to pot.

Simmer until pork is tender, 2 - 3 hours. Temper crema with tablespoons of broth from chili until warm. Add crema and chopped cilantro to chili. Bring to a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Serve with warm corn tortillas or tortilla chips and lime wedges.


Read the interview with John Novak Here

A Columbus Chili Champion: Interview with John Novak

John Novak won the annual chili cook-off put on by Huffman’s Market held October 8th 2006, at Fancyburg Park in Columbus. Saucisson MAC caught up with him a couple of days ago.

MAC: So tell me about this chili contest you got into…congratulations by the way. You were like the big winner there right?

JN: Yeah actually (cough) I won the best overall recipe and the popular vote

MAC: Wow so this was like a thousand –two thousand people?

JN: I don’t know, it’s hard to say .. I wouldn’t say that many, there was maybe few hundred

MAC: A few hundred?

JN: two to three hundred tops..

MAC: wow…

JN: I know, it’s hard to say, they were coming and going, it was in this pavilion at the park.

MAC: Fancyburg park.

JN: Yeah, yeah.

MAC: So you are saying it was more than sixty, though.


Definitely more than sixty.

I would say like a hundred maybe.

Wow, so that’s less than a thousand but more than sixty…



And unfortunately the celebrity judges were not quite big celebrities…

Well is Jimmy Crum still alive?

I wish (As far as Google search can tell, Mr. Crum is still alive and well. Ed.), I was hoping for him, and that- uh- who was that clown….

Flippo – Flippo the Clown

Oh yeah, of course, Flippo…and

Well how about Bobby Rahal was he there?

No…no…I was hoping for him or either Jack Hanna….

Jack Hanna…oh yeah, Jungle Jack, Does he even live in Columbus any more?

Probably not, he probably lives in New York or somethin….

So who where the celebrity judges?

It was the Upper Arlington Fire Chief and…

Oh right, in case the chili was too hot….

Yeah (Chuckle),

You know, if it was too hot, he could put out the fire, or something?

Yeah, and then there was the -uh Upper Arlington Secretary of Commerce.

Oh uh-huh (takes sip of scotch)

Then there some third guy, I don’t know who he was…He said he was a judge…

But they were all definitely trained in the culinary arts…

Well I figure the fire chief, was probably, you know firemen they are always in the kitchen making chili and shit like that…

Like spaghetti…

Can I say shit?

Its okay, we can edit it out later.


So how did you come up with the chili, I mean as much as you can divulge…

Oh yeah I wont give away big secrets….um well I guess it all comes down to my dad is from Texas and so he was always making and experimenting with the classic Texas beef chili…It started out my mom would make it and it was a very bland Texas chili; it was basically tomato sauce with one tablespoon of chili powder.


And then for some reason we would put rice in it.

Rice in Texas chili?

Well I don’t know, this was before tortilla chips made it to Columbus.


So when my Dad retired he started experimenting more with variations of it, every time I would come to visit he would give me a gallon to take home and most of the time if was so-so, but I remember one time …-he always made it, so I was kind of sick of it- I dumped it into a dumpster behind my apartment building. I was so sick of it…This was in college…Then I after I moved away from home (He moved to NYC. Ed.), I started making the classic Texas red chili, and then when I started dating Liz, she got all excited about it (The chili, that is. Ed.) and she got me a book by Jane and Michael Stern, called Chili Nation, which has chili recipes from each state in the Union, and so I started making a lot of those, and then branching out from them, and experimenting by myself and I found that I really like pork shoulder in the chili. So I took that, and I worked with the recipe from New Mexico which is all green chilies and I found I liked the combo of all the green chilies, a bunch tomatillos, a lot of garlic, onion and the pork shoulder, and I would serve is with the Mexican crema. Then Liz, for the contest, came up with the name “Novak’s Cream of the Crop Green Chili.” She suggested blending in the crema before hand and so it became a creamy, creamy green chili…

Yeah right, that’s how S likes her stuff too, anything, anything, she goes 'okay we’re having soup', or 'okay we’re having chili,' or 'okay we’re having …'whatever, just stir in the sour cream.


MAC: Don’t even, you know…no muss no fuss, just stir it in.

JN: Does it have to be sour cream or…

Well usually it's sour cream, but crema whatever, bring it on…so that was Liz’s idea.

Yeah, she wanted to keep things simple, plus the name, it was perfect, Cream of the Crop, and…

Yeah, that is good. And it also has your name in it too, that’s really helpful.

Yeah exactly.

That’s all a part of the presentation really.

Yeah, Yeah. Ours was really the only non-traditional (not red) entry, I would have like to have seen a little more variety, but it was fine.

How many entries where there?


Okay so there were six entries,

Yeah (Laughs)

There was between sixty and a thousand people there….

Yeah (Laughing)

You know when you laugh, you sound just like Jorge.


Yeah, If I picked up the phone and heard you laughing I wouldn’t be able to tell if it was you or Jorge…

Oh that’s disturbing.

(long conversation about Jorge)

So you are getting settled in your new house and your new life, in Columbus, who does most of the cooking?

Actually I have been doing more and more of the cooking, It has kinda worked out where she does the baking and I have become more of the cook.

So what do you like to cook? What is in you repertoire?

Oh I don’t know, I like to do things out of the Cook’s Illustrated, magazines…

Okay, I am holding the September/October 2003 issue of Cook’s

Oh, okay.

Can you tell me what was the top three recipes.

Roast beef, creamed corn and skillet green beans.

Close, close, but no. Beef and Broccoli is the recipe I do out of this issue. I made it tonight. Real good, you should make it, even the kids will eat it. Well one of them will… if I force him. But what else what else do you like to work on?

I have been working on “Chilies” from other countries. You know like Indian Curry, I just made that for the first time. Liz said it was pretty good. Let’s see…then I did a Chicken Parprikash, which is sort of an Eastern European Chili….

So you are just crazy about Chili huh?….

Well recently, I been on the Chili high, ever since the victory…

Right. So have you been getting a lot of press since…

You’re practically the only person who has acknowledged it, aside from Jorge’s family…

(another conversation about Jorge)

So let’s talk a little more about the competition, there were a few people on your team.

Yeah, Manish Anand and Susan Ghanbarpour.

And what were their contributions?

Well, they’re friends from New York and they just happened to be here that weekend. By a strange coincidence they happen to be two of my biggest chili fans. I think they’re half the reason that I have kept experimenting with chili, especially Manish, I mean he just, what is the word, he rhapsodizes about it. He’s nuts about the chili. I put them on the team so that they could get aprons.

So they were the cheerleading squad.

Yeah essentially.

Was there any moments, any clutch moments, when you were like uh-oh something is going wrong…

There was one worrisome point towards the end of the competition when the chili was getting really low and Manish was worried that he was not going to get another bowl. Most of the day it was pretty slow then in the last five minutes everyone came to try the chili. I was worried that I might run out before the judges got some.

But it all turned out okay.


You won Best Over All Recipe ribbon from the Judges and you won the People’s Choice Award.


So it’s a good recipe. Because I was thinking you know, Super Bowl is coming up and there is going to be a lot of people getting on their search engines saying I want a good chili recipe.

Oh Yeah.

I’m going to put the title of the article “Super bowl Chili.”

Oh nice.

It should be bangin’. On my blog I usually get maybe sixteen hits in a week, now, probably get ten thousand.


You know people have their Super bowl Parties, People are like, you know, “I don’t know what I want to cook,” you know, chili. They are going to type in “Super bowl Chili,” and whose recipe is going to come up? Whose recipe is going to be transmitted across the United States and across the world, because the Super Bowl is a world event. did you know that?

Uh yeah, I guess I didn’t believe the hype…

Do you follow football?

Of all sports I probably understand football the best.

Well you watch the Buckeyes…

Of course, and you got the Bears. Hey, they’re going to be in the Super bowl. Are you going to watch the game, or are you just going to cook chili?

I might go to Wisconsin. It’s a real toss up.


MAC: But seriously, you have been experimenting with Chili recipes for a long time. And you really did win this competition, so you’ve got to be doing something right, what are the important elements, for you, in the Chili?

JN: One thing I would like encourage people to use more whole chili peppers, fresh peppers, chili purees. I think people are too reliant on just chili powder. When you start using the whole chilies that’s when you start getting the flavor. That’s my one serious note.

Your recipe calls for chili powder what kind of…

In this recipe the chili powder isn’t as important as… I mean that’s my point…what’s really important are the green chilies, the poblanos…

But what’s you favorite Chili Powder?

Okay, Penzey’s Medium Hot. That’s a good one.

How about beer? What kinda of beer do you drink?

Lately it has been Shiner Bock, a beer from Texas and I also like Two Hearted-Ale.

Made by Bell’s in Michigan. Yeah at one time in my life I made it my mission to drink all the Amber Ale I could find….


JN: Are you talking to me?

MAC: Huh? Yeah. So do ever use beer in your recipes? S swears by it and I have to admit she makes a pretty good chili.

Oh yeah, there’s a few recipes I do, not this one, I mean you can I guess, but there’s one I do a lot where I deglaze with beer…

Yeah I think Emeril does that…


But uh anyway a beer to go with chili…

You know a lager or something not to heavy….

Okay, let’s talk sausage. I don’t think I am compromising my journalistic integrity by revealing I have known you for quite some time..

Yeah, Liz remembers fondly the giant kielbasa you brought to my birthday party.

Isn’t that sweet.

That was good kielbasa…

A little bit of love from Greenpoint. But like I was saying, I have known you for a long time, we have been in several films together, you are an accomplished painter, and a musician. I want to ask you about a song you wrote many years ago about sausage.

Oh yeah.

What’s the story about that? Did Jorge call you up one day and just say “John can you write me a song about Chorizo?” Or what? Do you remember?

That’s actually stems from my tenure at the Starliner Diner in Hilliard. I worked there for about a year before I moved to New York.

Yeah, I have been there, really- really good food.

I worked there as a server, and there was a cook there named Fila(sp?). He would walk around saying crazy shit and like singing little weird songs and one time, I swear, it may have not been the exact melody, but I heard him singing softly to himself, “Chorizo, chorizo, chorizo..” and so a little while after that I was sitting in an apartment in New York, you know just bored, and I was strumming a guitar and I kinda of adapted it into a song. Then a year later and Jorge tells me he has used it in one of his screenplays….

Pancho’s Revenge, you were great in that film. Can you sing a few bars for us now?

Ok…. “Oh, Chorizo, oh chorizo- chorizo, Chorizo, chorizo-o, chorizo, chorizo, chorizo”…you can use that as a lullaby for your kids.

That would be great, I remember in the film when you say “Here’s the sad part”…

Yeah, I went into the minor key and… “Chorizo…”

Yeah it was so weak and wilting like you are reaching for that last piece of sausage as you melt away into this huge lush valley deep in the Andes….Hoo…powerful stuff. I’m starting to get misty…

I was amazed that the song structure was strong enough that I was able to turn it into three versions in the film: There was the classic version, then a melancholy one in the middle, then the triumphant version at the end. I still can’t believe…

I just remember the melancholy chorizo.



So this competition you won, what was the prize?

I got a gift card to Huffman’s and a gift basket made up by Mrs. Huffman.

They are the folks who put on the competition.

Yeah, it’s a great little grocery store, I get my pork shoulder there, they carry a lot those nice small label items and they prepare a lot of thing in house, Mrs. Huffman makes these amazing chicken pot pies…

Oh yeah?

They are like the size of a child’s head….

A child’s head?

Yeah a child’s head…

But it’s chicken….

Yeah- yeah. They also make their own buckeyes, they have Amish baked goods and stuff like that….

That sounds real nice.


JN: Are you still recording?

MAC: Yeah, I got a tape deck plugged into a phone jack in the other room

Okay well I don’t want to hear this recording, somewhere down the line, mashed up with a Gorillaz tune or something…

Yeah, hey, did you like the theme song to my cooking show?

Yeah, what was that?

It was a mash-up called “Flaming Mary Can (Out) Run Prince” (after hitting hyperlink, scroll down to number 7. Ed.)


Yeah, I think that song really rocks, once it gets going. I imagine the opening being that song set to a montage of driving shots from the South side…

Right on….

You know it really rocks hard, but it has an uplifting theme.

I imagine your cooking show being a cross between Anthony Bourdain and Chris Kimball.

Yeah could be that….

With a hint of the Love Boat…I really think people should find should find love on your show.

What more could anyone wish for?

Next time you in CMH, I’ll fix you some chili.

Thanks, Cheers.

Link to Novak's Cream of the Crop Recipe here

18 January, 2007

Hunt for Prosciutto

Do you remember the first time you had prosciutto? I do, about fifteen years ago, it took me about a year to not be afraid to pronounce it right. Since then I have become fascinated with air cured hams; so simple, just meat, salt and time. I remember when I first moved into our house(about two and a half years ago), I thought the crawl space under the living room would be perfect for a “cave” where I could cure a ham. It has been over a year now that I have been reading about the preparation and I am still not ready to go for the whole leg. However here are the results of the first test.

The experiment started the first week of December, with a recipe for Lardo from Ruhlman's Charcuterie book. I used a couple of pieces of pork belly; they cured in the fridge for ten days, then into the drying box.

Day one in the drying box, December 18

The drying box is an old cabinet I saved from the kitchen renovation. I put some black landscaping fabric over the front to cut down on the light but still allow air to circulate.

So I let it go for twenty four days. I tried to check it daily, had a little chart to mark down the temp and humidity, kept a bowl of water in there to try and boost the humidity a bit, and after three weeks...

Okay is doesn't look too different, but they are not black and covered with mold either. Let's start slicing.

Slice this stuff like smoked salmon, hold the knife almost parallel to the meat and skim a piece off the top.

It didn't quite taste like di Parma or even di San Danielle, but it hinted at it. The texture was very nice but uneven. I think I need to boost my humidity a bit more. But in the mean time I have some perfectly edible cured meat. The Lardo recipe was more about the fat rather than the meat and it stressed that unless you had very high quality fat, the result may not be so good. Well the book was right, the fat on its own is not very interesting, but I paid $1.29/lb for my pork belly and with a little salt and a little time I got something very delicious.

Okay so you're not ready to start hanging meat in your basement but you want some prosciutto, Here are some interesting places to go:

Bari Foods. Grand and May in Chicago. This was where I first tasted prosciutto. It is a nice little Italian grocery store that has become very famous for their sandwiches. If you want a sandwich, get the prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. They also make their own sausage on premises, my favorite being the Barese sausage.

Caputo's. They have a couple locations, I have only been to the one on Harlem. Unbelievable Italian grocery store Mecca. Very good prices. Make the trip, it is worth it. Very Very crowded on Saturdays and Sundays.

Scott's Market. Just North of Route 30 on Western AVE. in Chicago Heights. For my petit saucissons in the Southland, this is a good place to go. They have a well kept deli case, a small selection of Italian imports, and incredibly good sausage made by the folks who ran the Specialty Shop.

And for my friends in the CMH, I am sure there are lots of good places to get prosciutto, but why mess around just go to Carfagna's.


PS. For pronouncing prosciutto say PRO-shoo-toh, if you are at Caputo's you may have to add the word Crudo, less you get boiled ham. And if you happen to be in Brooklyn, square it off and just say PRO-shute.

10 January, 2007

New Sausage stuffer New Sausage Recipe

The Crankman.

Making sausage is not a very complicated. Some instructions, a grinder, a stuffer and you're off. I been using the Kitchen- Aid grinder attachment for the stand mixer. It's a good deal if you already have the mixer. I also have the stuffing tubes. I like the grinder fine, perfect for anyone making 5 pounds or less (and that's a lot of sausage). However the stuffer attachment leaves something to be desired. It works by pushing the mixture into the casing with the auger. Not only do I not like the idea of the mixture being smeared around by the screw, but it is not very efficient. It feels like walking up a sand dune or trying to jog in mud. Additionally, the stuffer attachment is really no good for an emulsified sausage like hot dogs, the mousse-like texture simply smears everywhere. So I started looking at stuffers. I immediately passed over the elbow shaped stuffers as a poor design, a mess in the making. The next step up is the canister stuffers, the right design, but yeow-geeze the price, for a five pound capacity you're looking at two hundred bucks. That's too much. Then one day I found a stuffer on an industrial tool website. Northern Tool and Equipment has a sausage stuffer for $79. I was smitten, but why so cheap? Before I could track one down for a close quality inspection, Santa put one under the tree. I have used it twice and my initial impression is I don't know what a $200 stuffer could do better. I need to bolt it to something (there are bolt holes in the base) and I may upgrade the plastic stuffing tubes to stainless. The tubes have a rough finish and it is kinda (not too bad but) hard to slide on the casings.

It is pretty simple: A crank arm gears to a threaded rod that has a plunger on the end. The plunger has an air release valve and rubber o-ring to seal against the canister. The whole thing comes apart for easy loading and clean up. For operation, I chilled the canister in the freezer, then I used a little lard (called vacuum grease in the industry) around the o-ring and on the stuffing tube. H did the cranking (so easy a four year old could do it), he thought it was kinda like playing with play dough (pause here for deeper philosophical thought).

The first sausage we made in the new stuffer was Friulian Sausage recipe created by my Man in the Oranges, Brian. He said he wanted to recreate the sausage he once bought made by Mario Batali. What he came up with is very very good. It comes across very subtle but well rounded and is equally at home served with pasta or served with a smear of mustard. But first what is Friulian? Friuli is part of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, an region in northeastern Italy. By the way, if you are just metacrawling through, here's Batali's recipe for Friulian Sausage, I'll wait while you look...

Okay you back? I think Batali's recipe is ok, pretty simple, it has your quatre-epices, and some garlic but I don't know about using lard, that seems like a bad substitute, just get some pork fat. AND like I mentioned earlier, 5 pounds is more than enough sausage for making at home, Batali has you working with 6 pounds including the fat. If you want to try this recipe (I'm not) just make half of it. But I digress...

You should make all of Brian's recipe. We ate a little less than half of it New Years Eve, had some for a dinner party last Sunday, and a couple links left over for lunch this week. This stuff really freezes well. He departs from the usual Italian sausage with ingredients like whole mustard seed and juniper berries. Here's his recipe that I made with 4-1/4 lbs. of pork (see notes):

4-1/4 Lbs. Pork shoulder
32 g Salt
8g ground pepper
7g whole black mustard seed
7g whole coriander, toasted then slightly crushed
16 Juniper Berries, crushed
200ml red wine chilled

Dice pork shoulder and mix in all ingredients except wine, refrigerate mixture for an hour up to overnight.. Grind mixture through small plate into bowl sent in ice, add chilled wine and mix medium speed with paddle attachment to get a smooth consistency (about one minute). Stuff into hog casings. If you have time let them air dry in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cook and enjoy.

mustard from the MustardMan

Notes: Brian's recipe calls for white wine, but I didn't have any. I also (with a nod to my wife) put in a little sugar. I used pork belly that I had trimmed from another project. To adjust the ingredients to the weight of meat that you got, find the ratio. Take the wt of the meat that you have and divide that by the wt in the recipe. Take that number (the ratio) and multiply it to each of the ingredient amounts. Hey Presto.

While I'm on the subject of conversions, I found a great posting for converting weights and volumes in cooking. The blog is called Chocolate and Zucchini.

I gotta go cook.


02 January, 2007

Apres Holiday

16 lbs. of smoked prime rib

Green chile and chicken tamales.

Back to work my gentle readers. As you can see off to the side here we have two new ways to get updates: Notify email by Notify.com OR the RSS feed. I will probably faze out the Notify subscription list in favor of the RSS feed. Since Blogspot does not power its own RSS, the feed is run through another website called Feedburner. Everything seems to work good and it has not done anything evil to my computer. Get the feed. Also off to the side I have put up a new link to my flickr page. If you are really bored you can click over there to look at family and food photos.

As for updates, I resolve in this new year to put up at least one a week. We also have some new contributors: JL is to report on the food ways in Addis, and the Mustard Man from D’dorf is scheduled to chime in with lifestyle tips and food trips from the Continent.
But first I want to hear from you. How did you do on your the Holiday Meals? Leave comments detailing every morsel. I’ll go first.